East Tennessee has become the wedding capital of the eastern United States. Second only to Las Vegas, couples come to East TN to tie the knot. Half of the US population lives within a day’s drive and the vacation possibilities make it natural to combine both wedding and honeymoon. East Tennessee has always been a popular honeymoon choice, but for three decades, tens of thousands of couples have arrived to get married and then stayed for the honeymoon.
At Whitestone Country Inn, we are seeing an increase in destination weddings. Couples find us online and make all the arrangements without ever coming to the area until the wedding week. A bride from Connecticut and a groom from Arizona came with 96 friends and family and celebrated a wonderful week here at Whitestone. “We wanted our families to get to know each other and a neutral resort was a great way to accomplish that.”
Elopements to East Tennessee have been increasing for years. Interestingly, in a downturn in the economy, the total number of weddings in Sevier County has decreased slightly, but the number of people attending has gone up. We are seeing more elopements at Whitestone than ever before. Several elopements have come to us when bigger weddings were planned for later, but orders for military deployments necessitated an earlier wedding date.
Weddings for up to 200 guests are frequent at Whitestone. With the Chapel of the Good Sheppard and the adjacent heart shaped marble courtyard, it’s easy to plan an outdoor wedding with the chapel as a last minute option. (Weather in East TN is unpredictable.) The convenience of the Lion and Lamb Banquet Hall only 150 feet away insures that all the guests will be at the reception.
Gatlinburg will always have thousands of small chapel weddings each year; however, Whitestone will be the choice for that select bride and groom who want a more intimate setting in a pristine location.
Fifteen years of weddings from elaborate celebrations to a couple in a gazebo, Whitestone has helped over 1000 brides and grooms experience the wedding of their dreams. And thankfully, so many come back year after year for their anniversaries.